One way to think about these classroom implications

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Unformatted text preview: gage in the discovery of new knowledge through problem-solving experiences. • Classrooms need to provide complex learning experiences that allow students to integrate knowledge, and to view knowledge from different perspectives. • Classrooms need to provide opportunities for students to think collaboratively with teachers and other students. • Students need to learn to be self-regulated learners who can take an active role in designing their own learning experiences. • Students need to be engaged in authentic learning experiences that allow them to enculturate into communities of practice. One way to think about these classroom implications is that modern educational constructivists have extended on the earlier cognitive developmental ideas in interesting and creative ways. Table 5.4 presents the relationship between our list of constructivist suggestions for classroom learning and the related ideas from the cognitive developmental theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner. Discovery of New Knowledge Constructivists tend to agree that traditional transmission models of teaching (e. g. lecture) do not typically provide the types of interactions with knowledge that lead to deep understanding of that knowledge (Marlowe & Page, 1998; Richardson, 1997). Students need to be actively investigating and 46 experimenting in order to develop meaningful understandings. Consequently, constructivists tend to support inductive approaches to teaching such as inquiry learning, and discovery. Mr. Davidson a high school history teacher implements this idea in the following way. “I occasionally will lecture, but I prefer to describe briefly an historical event so that my students can generate research questions to answer about those questions.” Integration of Knowledge As we stated earlier, constructivists are primarily interested in the types of knowledge that are involved in activities such as problem solving and critical thinking. Consequently, they are in favor of methods that stress understanding of principles and concepts rather than rote memorization of isolated pieces of information. For constructivists, meaningful understanding results from relating new learning to prior learning, from integrating concepts within and between disciplines, from being able to represent knowledge in different forms, and from reflecting on the nature of their own knowledge (Brooks & Brooks, 1999; Spiro, Coulson, Feltovich, & Anderson, 1988; Ward, 2001). Consequently, they would tend to support approaches that integrate curriculum, and that organize learning around conceptual themes or complicated problems. Mr. Davidson implements this idea in the following fashion. 47 ⇒ I find that students can get a good feel for different perspectives on a historical event from reading the popular literature of the time and by studying the available technology of a period. My colleagues in science and English are collaborating with me so that students also study historical events in terms of the science and literature...
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